On 10 July 2018 the UK hosted the Western Balkans Summit in London, the fifth summit convened under the Berlin Process.
The UK Prime Minister Theresa May hosted the Western Balkans Summit in London on 10 July, demonstrating the longstanding commitment to the region and to European security. Heads of Government of the Western Balkans 6, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, attended the Summit, and also representatives of Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Slovenia, as well as Bulgaria and Greece and the EU institutions.
The Summit was the fifth to take place under the Berlin Process after Berlin (2014), Vienna (2015), Paris (2016) and Trieste (2017). The Berlin Process is a diplomatic initiative that Chancellor Merkel launched in 2014. Each year it brings together the 6 Western Balkans countries, like-minded EU partners and representatives of the EU institutions to work together to support security, stability and prosperity in the region.
The summit focused on 3 areas:
- increasing economic stability with a view to improving the business environment, encouraging entrepreneurship, addressing youth unemployment, and promoting regional inter-connectivity
- strengthening regional security co-operation to help tackle common threats, including corruption, serious and organised crime, trafficking of people, drugs and firearms, terrorism and violent extremism
- facilitating political co-operation – to help the region resolve bilateral disputes and overcome legacy issues stemming from the conflicts of the 1990s and strengthen democracy
All Berlin Process participants agreed that, to prosper in the future, they needed to continue to deal with the legacy of the past. All 14 Berlin Process participants signed the joint declaration on regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations in the framework of the Berlin Process. They looked forward to future annual reports from governments of the Western Balkans on further progress.
Berlin Process participants also signed the joint declarations on war crimes and on missing persons. They welcomed the progress made towards the development of the regional framework plan to address the issue of missing persons from the conflicts on the territory of the former Yugoslavia. All participants looked forward to its early adoption and implementation.
The Chairs conclusions can be found here.
Joint declarations can be found here.